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Cuba deploys troops to battle Zika virus

Monday, February 22, 2016 - 01:31

Cuba is calling up its armed forces in the fight against the Zika virus, targeting the mosquito that carries the virus before it's too late. Nathan Frandino reports.

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Armed with fumigators, the Cuban military is taking a preemptive strike against the mosquito carrying the Zika virus. Cristina Suarez is among 9,000 members of the military called up by President Raul Castro on Monday to join the fight. (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) MECHANICAL ENGINEER AND MILITARY RESERVIST, CRISTINA SUAREZ, SAYING: "No cases have been reported here in Cuba yet, but we are fighting, the whole of the Health Ministry with all the factions, so that the disease does not attack our country." Zika is carried by mosquitos that transmit the virus to humans. It's also suspected of causing the birth defect microcephaly... a condition marked by abnormally small head sizes in newborns. Brazil said it has confirmed more than 500 cases of microcephaly and is investigating more than 3,900 additional suspected cases. Back in Havana, resident Ramon Martinez calls Cuba's efforts very effective. (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) HAVANA RESIDENT, RAMON MARTINEZ, SAYING: "Unfortunately among the public, there are people who sometimes fail to understand the gravity of the epidemic and they sometimes refuse to get fumigated and the population should always cooperate with authorities for these campaigns which have been in place for years." The outbreak has affected large parts of Latin America. The World Health Organization says it's likely to spread to all of the Americas, except for Canada and Chile.

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Cuba deploys troops to battle Zika virus

Monday, February 22, 2016 - 01:31